The official ban of the XL Bully breed was announced two days ago and owners are upset their beloved pets have been villainized.

The Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, banned the breed under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 after a surge in recent attacks and violent behaviour.

Laws regarding ownership will be gradually introduced across the UK and the pets will be illegal to own by February 2024.

The new legislation has been opposed by owners and charities, who say their dogs are gentle pets.

Appearing at a Sheffield protest against the ban on Saturday, one dog owner said: “My dog is muzzle trained and double leashed because I like that security. 

“I already show responsible ownership and even then I’m still being targeted and my dog is being targeted. It’s just based on how he looks.”

Many charities have suggested that Breed Specific Legislation is ineffective, as the breed is not recognised by Kennel Club in the UK and therefore choosing which dog is classified as an XL bully, and banned, is based on the dog’s appearance.

Suzy Barrot, from Sheffield, aged 47, is a dog behaviourist and has owned seven dogs of the ‘bully’ type herself. She said: “Aggression can be genetic but it’s a functional behaviour.

“It’s not a breed thing. 70% of that output is from the dog’s environment. If you look at where people are getting bitten and how, it’s often owners who have not done any training, or any socialisation.

“Then look at how these dogs have been treated by breeders. Before we had this ban we had breeders breeding dogs in kennels. They’ve not been exposed to the things a family dog would be expected to cope with.

“Then they are just being dropped into a family situation as a baby, massively overwhelmed and nobody recognises that these babies are terrified.

“These dogs are seen as a drug dealer’s weapon, and the media controls this narrative.”

Two Bullies owned by those attending Ms Barrot’s training course

Suzy Barrot started running a 10-week training course in September, to help people who own Bullys to get an exception certificate, so their dogs cannot be seized.

“A well-socialised bull breed is probably one of the most tolerant dogs you are going to meet.

“My dog is so soft that we had an aggravated break and he watched and let us get robbed, and for three days that dog needed some serious trauma therapy because he was terrified.

”The media is deliberately putting attention on this breed because fear sells, and fear of powerful dogs sells.”

“We’re not a country of dog lovers anymore. Our government have repealed any animal welfare legislation we had and believes animals have no emotions.”